(L-R) Michael Graham, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Ronan Keating of Boyzone attend the BT Sport Relief Ball at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London, England, on March 26, 2014. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Chorley Football Club, hailing from the sixth tier of English football, is poised for a potential alliance with Boyzone, the renowned 1990s boy band from the 1990s, led by Ronan Keating. This potential partnership marks a merging of sports and celebrity culture within English non-leagues.
Expressing optimism, Chorley disclosed ongoing negotiations with Boyzone, highlighting the band’s possible role as the public face of the club. In a statement, the team announced Boyzone’s attendance at the forthcoming FA Trophy match against Solihull Moors, underscoring the promising prospects of this collaboration.
“We firmly believe that this partnership with Boyzone has the potential to take Chorley FC to new heights, firmly establishing our town and football club as a force to be reckoned with,” remarked Chorley officials.
While details regarding Boyzone’s potential ownership stake in the club remain undisclosed, Chorley emphasized the transformative impact of this collaboration, echoing sentiments of heightened visibility and significance for the town.
Boyzone, celebrated for chart-topping hits such as “No Matter What” and “Words,” disbanded in 2019 after a storied career marked by reunion and individual pursuits. Notably, Ronan Keating, the band’s lead vocalist, has enjoyed continued success as a solo artist.
As Chorley FC ventures into this potential collaboration with Boyzone, it endeavors to harness the allure of celebrity to elevate its standing in the footballing landscape, reminiscent of similar ventures that have reshaped the trajectory of clubs in recent years.
The move evokes parallels with Wrexham AFC, a Welsh club that ascended from the National League to the English Football League following its acquisition by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2021, underlining the growing trend of high-profile involvement in lower-tier football.
Investing in the realm of soccer has proven a lucrative venture for Mr. Reynolds and Mr. McElhenney. In 2021, the duo acquired Wrexham AFC, a Welsh soccer team, for $2.5 million, subsequently orchestrating its ascent to the National League title in April and securing promotion to the fourth tier of English soccer. The transformative journey of Wrexham is now the focus of the FX documentary series “Welcome to Wrexham.”
Backed by prominent sponsors such as TikTok and Expedia, coupled with a burgeoning fan base, Wrexham and its proprietors are poised to remain under the spotlight’s glare. However, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. McElhenney are not solitary figures in their success within the sporting arena. Several other notable personalities have found triumph through their investments in soccer teams worldwide.
Among these luminaries is Drew Carey, renowned comedian, actor, and host of “The Price Is Right,” who has been affiliated with the Seattle Sounders FC since the team’s inception into the MLS franchise in 2009. Under Mr. Carey’s tenure, the Sounders clinched the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019, with his involvement marked by a commitment to fan engagement and community integration.
Matthew McConaughey, a native Texan and acclaimed actor, joined the ownership group of MLS franchise Austin FC in 2019. Embracing the role of “Minister of Culture,” Mr. McConaughey champions the ethos of Austin within the team’s identity, fostering a spirit of optimism, creativity, and sporting excellence.
Meanwhile, model and actor Kate Upton and her husband, MLB pitcher Justin Verlander, ventured into soccer team ownership by joining the ownership group of Liga MX franchise Club Necaxa in 2021. The team’s surge in value and participation in prestigious tournaments underscores the success of their investment.
Actor Natalie Portman is a co-founder of Angel City FC, an NWSL team based in Los Angeles, boasting an ownership group comprising soccer luminaries and entertainment icons. The Oscar winner’s multifaceted involvement extends to the executive production of a documentary series chronicling the club’s inaugural season, slated for release on HBO.
Further diversifying the spectrum of celebrity ownership is Reese Witherspoon, who became a part-owner of MLS franchise Nashville SC in 2022. With the debut of the expansive GEODIS Park, Ms.Witherspoon’s investment marks a significant milestone in the expansion of soccer-specific infrastructure in North America.
In Italy, talk show host Kelly Ripa and her husband, actor Mark Consuelos, acquired a stake in A.S.D. Campobasso, a team competing in the fifth tier of Italian football.
Additionally, actor Michael B. Jordan’s investment in Premier League franchise AFC Bournemouth signifies a strategic move to catalyze a revival in the team’s fortunes. At the same time, NFL star Patrick Mahomes ventures into the realm of women’s soccer as a part-owner of the Kansas City Current NWSL franchise.
Will Ferrell’s ownership role in Los Angeles FC underscores his enduring passion for the sport, culminating in the team’s triumph in securing its first MLS Cup in 2022. Mr. Ferrell’s association with an esteemed ownership group exemplifies the convergence of sports and entertainment in modern soccer culture.